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GCSE Sociology - Theoretical approaches

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GCSE Sociology - Theoretical approaches

  1. 1. THEORETICAL APPROACHES Studying Society 1.2
  2. 2. LEARNING OUTCOMES At the end of session you will be able to:  Recognise that there are different theoretical approaches to studying society  Compare conflict and consensus theories  Recognise the significance of different types of evidence in social research
  3. 3. WHAT IS A THEORETICAL APPROACH?  Although all sociologists look at the same picture of society, what they see depends on their theoretical perspective.  Theoretical perspective: looking at a social issue through the eyes of one Karl Marx 1818-1883 particular type of theorist.
  4. 4. STRUCTURALISM  Structuralists look at the big picture and show how society makes us what we are.  They concentrate on the way that the structure of society has an influence on our everyday lives.
  5. 5. INTERACTIONISM  Interactionists focus down on smaller groups and individuals  They concentrate on the way people behave within society, how they interact with others and how people live their daily lives which, in turn, makes society what it is.
  6. 6. CONSENSUS What is consensus?  Some sociologists say that society is held together because people share a set of key norms and values that are passed down from one generation to the next through the process we know as socialisation.  They are very positive about the organisations and institutions in society and there is a general level of agreement on the way that society should develop.  This is the basis of the consensus approach to sociology.  Another word for consensus is agreement.
  7. 7. FUNCTIONALISM Consensus & Functionalism  The main group of sociologists that follow these ideas are referred to as functionalists.  Functionalists see all the different parts of society working together like the parts of a well-oiled machine.  Each part has a role to play in making sure the machine works well – they all perform a function and they all need to work well in order for the machine to do its job properly.
  8. 8. CONFLICT What is conflict?  Some sociologists see society as being organised and structured so that some groups do better than others.  This means that some people have control and the power to decide what others should do.  A society organised in this way automatically involves disagreement and conflict.
  9. 9. SOCIAL CLASSES  Social classes have developed because wealth and power are not shared out equally in society.
  10. 10. CLASS CONFLICT  The group of sociologists who see social class as the main cause of conflict are referred to as Marxist sociologists.  The differences that exist between the ruling class and the working class are the real reasons for disagreement and conflict
  11. 11. MARXISM & SURPLUS VALUE  Workers are paid a wage but it is way below the value of the goods they produce as the capitalist class ‘creams off’ the rest of the money in the form of profits  Theyare seen to be exploiting their workers.
  12. 12. FEMINISM  Some feminist sociologists identify conflict between men and women in society (gender conflict) as their main concern.  Radical feminists see the root of the problem as male power or patriarchy and believe that this is seen in all institutions in society from the family through to the world of work.
  13. 13. MARXIST FEMINISTS  Marxist feminists see the big problem springing from the fact that women ‘look after’ men who work in a capitalist system.  If women do work, what they do is seen as less important than the work of men.
  14. 14. SO HOW DO THESE THEORISTS PRESENT THE ALL IMPORTANT DATA? Remember sociology is a science and therefore has to be rigorous and systematic in its research and data analysis
  15. 15. QUANTITATIVE & QUALITATIVE DATA Quantitative  Information that is presented as numbers which can be analysed using statistical methods. Qualitative  Information in the form of text or images, that is rich in description and detail
  16. 16. INTERACTIONISTS  Sociologists taking an interactionist approach would be likely to concentrate on qualitative data and be interested more in discussing the findings from observation and unstructured interviews.  Their data would not, for example, be looking at graphs and percentages.
  17. 17. STRUCTURALISTS  Sociologists taking a more structural view would be more likely to look at social surveys.  The data that structuralists collect allows them to compare responses between different groups in society.  The graphs and tables on the following slides are examples of quantitative data that might be generated from a social survey but the data doesn’t speak for itself, it has to be analysed and evaluated.
  18. 18. ANALYSING DATA Using bar chart D, answer these questions: c) What is the most striking trend in the data? d) What surprises you about the data? e) Do you understand the categories? What is the difference between burglary and robbery? f) Do you understand the title? What is an indictable offence? g) What ‘other offences’ can you think of that don’t fit the main categories?
  19. 19.  Which subject shows the smallest percentage difference between girls and boys achieving A* – C GCSE grades?
  20. 20. QUESTIONS FOR HOMEWORK  From page 15 of your handout (1.2 How do we understand the language that sociologists use?) a Why are interactionist sociologists more likely to gather qualitative data? a What problems do radical feminists see with patriarchy? What is an analogy? g Explain what we mean when we talk of analysing’ data.

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